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Matloff On Greenspan On Deliberately Lowering American Tech Workers Earnings
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March 26, 2007, 04:16 PM
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Dr. Norm Matloff writes in his newsletter, (not online) that

Data is fine, but there is nothing like a good old incriminating statement to shorten the process.

A case in point is Alan Greenspan`s remarkably candid statement, enclosed below, in which he says that we need H-1Bs and F-4 in order to hold down tech salaries.

That`s the real goal folks. All that talk of labor shortages, lack of PhDs, the need for innovation, American eighth grade math test scores, Baby Boomer programmers on the verge of retirement with no replacements in sight, etc. is pure smokescreen. What the employers really want is lower labor costs.

That`s all it`s EVER been. Let me remind you of a similar candid statement by our own governmental National Science Foundation, which back in 1989 pushed Congress to create the H-1B program (which it did the next year) in order to keep PhD salaries down. The NSF remarked that "A growing influx of foreign PhDs into U.S. labor markets will hold down the level of PhD salaries...[The Americans] will select alternative career paths...[as] the effective premium for acquiring a PhD may actually be negative."

Dr Matloff is referring to this story in the Boston Globe

Allowing more skilled workers into the country would bring down the salaries of top earners in the United States, easing tensions over the mounting wage gap, Greenspan said.

"Our skilled wages are higher than anywhere in the world," he said. "If we open up a significant window for skilled workers, that would suppress the skilled-wage level and end the concentration of income."

Income inequality has risen in the past three decades.Greenspan: Let more skilled immigrants in - The Boston GlobeMarch 14, 2007

Income inequality, to the extent that it`s a problem, isn`t going to be cured by importing high-tech cheap labor, which will actually make it worse for Americans who have the talent to do the work that that pays well.

And it`s not the proper role of government to deliberately lower the wages of American workers this way.